In a nutshell, print finishing refers to anything done to printed material after it comes off the press or printer.
Some print finishing solutions actually happen at the end of the printing process, before the paper comes off the press. While these ‘inline’ finishing operations have increased in number due to digital printing, the majority of print finishing happens completely separately to the printing process and are called ‘offline’ finishing.
From mounting on boards to shrinkwrapping, finishing operations can be almost as varied as what’s on the paper. Here’s your guide to just about everything that can be considered print finishing:
While some paper stock may need to be cut prior to printing, there are many situations that mean it must be cut and/or trimmed after printing. Printing something with “Full Bleeds” mean that the colour appears to run off the edge and therefore, must be cut after printing. Depending on how many sheets of paper you are doing, as well as the thickness, you might need something as simple as a Roto or Blade Trimmer, or something more robust like a stand alone Paper Cutter.
Folders are used to create books, magazines, brochures and/or leaflets, among other documents. While book and magazine pages are folded in half, brochures and other print might use the trifold, French fold, gate fold or accordion fold.
If you’ve ever been responsible for putting together the hard copies for a presentation, you know the complications of collating, which is simply putting printed sheets in the correct sequence. ‘Gathering’ is the method of collating sheets for books and magazines.
One of those easier to understand terms that refers to binding sheets together. Binding ranges from Booklet Makers which apply staples to bind their books, to other binding processes that put reports together such as Thermal binding, Coil binding, Comb binding, Wire Binding and Loose Leaf binding (also known as Binders).
While laminating can refer to the bonding of a separate material to the printed paper, most laminating involves sealing the paper between two sheets of film. Sealing serves two purposes, it protects the sheet as well as adding a beautiful eye-catching finish that will enhance your image. Print finishing laminating is more than just gloss and matte these days and now includes finishes such as velvet/soft touch, sand, and foil, to name a few.
Drilling is more than just three hole punching paper so it can fit into a binder. Drilling can be done in different sized holes, in any spacing you need as well as in 1 – 3 holes per page at one time.
A variety of coatings can be applied to paper after the printing process. These include UV coating that helps protect the paper and improve the appearance of the print. Interestingly, the ‘UV’ part doesn’t refer to protecting the paper from exposure to the sun, but from the process of applying the coating, which uses UV light to bond and dry the coating.
If you’ve ever tried to distribute packages of printed paper that aren’t bound, you know how difficult it is to keep the bundles together. Shrinkwrapping encloses paper bundles in a transparent plastic film that is heated to make it fit the bundle securely and protect the sheets from dirt and dust.
3-D effects can be added to cover stock and a variety of other material such as vinyl through embossing, which presses the image into the material. Depending on the type of material used, the embossing might even change the colour where the heat is applied, which is known as heat burnishing. Foil stamping applies a metallic foil design in the colour of your choosing to the material.
There are many other print finishing solutions and new ones are regularly developed as new processes become available. If you have any questions about print finishing and finishing products, call us here at Southwest Business 1-877-285-7044 or email us.